Second annual HOPE Week
to support each other
By Linda Petersen
Mar. 22, 2018
GUNNISON—Gunnison Valley High School kicked off its second annual HOPE Week on Monday with an assembly.
At the assembly, BYU professor Hank Smith talked to them about positive choices and supporting one another. Smith also shared with his audience tools they could use to make better choices for themselves and with their peers.
The school’s 12-member HOPE Squad is made up of students chosen for their empathic nature and willingness to include everyone. Each of them is trained to help others find the resources they need in times of crisis and strive to create a positive environment in the school.
HOPE is an acronym for Hold On, Persuade and Empower, and the members of the HOPE Squad have spent the week building a spirit of positive learning through activities.
Activities have included games, a poster contest and the opportunity to post to “The Wall of HOPE.”
Students have also had the opportunity to meet with various agencies throughout the community which specialize in helping teens overcome addiction and prevent suicide.
HOPE Squad was started in 1998 by Greg Hudnall, a Utah County high school principal, after he was called upon to identify a 14-year-old student who had committed suicide. Shaken by the experience, Hudnall vowed to do everything in his power to help stem the flood of teen suicides.
At that time, Provo School District was experiencing one to two suicides a year among its students.
Since that time, HOPE Squads have spread across the state and to neighboring states.
HOPE Squad members are considered the eyes and ears of a school. They are trained to watch for at-risk students, to recognize warning signs in depressed or suicidal peers and to report those signs to an adult.